A U.S. Army veteran and his family finally have come home, thanks in part to a Winter Park interior design firm.
Masterpiece Design Group of Winter Park helped make a family’s dream a reality when they donated their time and resources to designing and furnishing a new home that was gifted to U.S. Army Sgt. David Roca and his family.
The Winter Park firm was just one of several entities who joined together with Operation FINALLY HOME — a nonprofit founded in 2005 that seeks to provide mortgage-free homes to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen.
“We were incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to help this family,” Masterpiece Design Group Marketing Manager Lauren Parsons said. “We do have some veterans in our office and people who work for us who’ve served as well, so to be able to give something back to this family who’s given so much and to be able to give the children something special to call their own was really just an honor.”
In about two months, multiple organizations and companies partnered to help construct the home, located in the Connerton community in Land O’ Lakes.
It all led up to an emotional dedication ceremony April 29, when Roca and his family stepped inside the completed home for the first time.
But before the big reveal, Masterpiece Design Group was contacted by Lennar Homes, which was leading the charge behind the project. Lennar had furniture from model homes and requested that Masterpiece use as much of it as it could to give the family a fully-furnished house.
Masterpiece Design Group got to work, designing the home and creating a housewares package that allowed the family to move in immediately, taking care of items such as silverware, cups, plates, a vacuum cleaner, towels and more.
“The entire community got involved,” Parsons said. “Lennar Homes spearheaded the whole thing with Operation FINALLY HOME and really did a great job in making sure they could give David and his family the final product they deserved.”
Roca first enlisted with the U.S. Army in August 2004 and attended basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
He was deployed to Iraq shortly after and helped carry out various missions. He earned the Valor Device for saving his commander’s life in battle and also received the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
But Roca also received his share of injuries while serving. He suffered multiple traumatic brain injuries in combat, including one from when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle.
That in combination with ongoing PTSD and migraines forced him to retire from the military in December 2008.
Roca moved his family to Long Island, where he attempted to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree. Roca struggled with concentration and memory due to his injuries though, and was forced to put his mental health first so he could get himself and his family on track.
They moved to Florida to be close to extended family and have been here ever since.
Roca’s service in the military made him a perfect candidate to receive a house from Operation FINALLY HOME, and he and his family were told the news at a surprise groundbreaking ceremony on March 3.
Parsons said that Masterpiece Design Group tried its best to design the rooms specifically to the tastes of Roca’s three children. The oldest son received a room designed in the colors and logo of his favorite basketball team: the New York Knicks, while his daughter received a room themed after Paris with bright pink colors that she’d requested.
The youngest son, just a toddler, received a room decorated after his favorite children’s show “Paw Patrol.”
“It was such a special project for us,” Parsons said. “It really touched us, especially the design team that worked on it. They were very honored.”
Parsons said Masterpiece Design Group will certainly look to donate their services once again in the future to a deserving cause.
“This was our first opportunity, and it was fantastic,” Parsons said. “We really, really enjoyed it. There’s nothing else on our radar right now, but we’d certainly welcome another opportunity.”